Berliner TageBlatt - Facing impeachment, Ecuador's president dissolves congress

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Facing impeachment, Ecuador's president dissolves congress
Facing impeachment, Ecuador's president dissolves congress / Foto: © AFP

Facing impeachment, Ecuador's president dissolves congress

Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso, who is weathering impeachment proceedings in congress over alleged corruption, issued a decree Wednesday dissolving the legislature.


The decree released abruptly by the unpopular conservative president's office states that Lasso is dissolving the opposition-led National Assembly "due to a grave political crisis and national commotion."

In dissolving congress, Lasso also called upon the National Electoral Council (CNE) to call new elections.

It is the first time a president in Ecuador has dissolved the legislature.

By law, within seven days of the publication of this decree, the CNE must convene new presidential and legislative elections to finish out the current term.

Until a new National Assembly is sworn in, Lasso is able to rule by decree, with checks by the constitutional court.

Lasso's impeachment trial opened in congress on Tuesday, amid a spike in violence related to drug trafficking in the South American country and widespread anger over the rising cost of living. Lasso is very unpopular.

The majority left-wing opposition has accused Lasso of knowing about alleged corruption in state owned companies, in which his brother-in-law Danilo Carrera and a businessman accused of drug trafficking have been implicated.

Speaking on state television Wednesday, Lasso defended his decision to dissolve the National Assembly.

"It is a democratic decision not only because it is constitutional but because it returns to the Ecuadoran people the possibility to decide," Lasso said, referencing the new elections.

Ecuador's congress tried to impeach Lasso in June, at a time of violent protests against the rising cost of living, but came up 12 votes short.

A similar political drama played out late last year in neighboring Peru.

Then president Pedro Castillo, also facing corruption allegations, tried to dissolve congress in December so he could rule by decree. He was arrested the same day and is now in prison awaiting trial on charges of rebellion.